Sometimes it’s hard divining what changes lie in store not just for NewChurch LIVE but for church in general. We are deeply fortunate, blessed with a large, healthy congregation, amazing volunteers, healthy stewardship patterns that keep us moving forward, and most importantly a clear mission-oriented focus. But the weather effects everyone and the weather remains challenging.
I wanted to share these thought provoking words from Christine Emba writing about her co-millenials and their large scale movement away from church. (Full Article). Good words to consider even if they challenge.
Will Church Matter?
Yes, actually. Religious and other civic organizations will atrophy — and not just from lack of funds. Faith and practice can’t persevere through our generation without attendance, and neither can the hope they tend to bring. And while that may not seem like a problem now, it will soon. We still want relationships and transcendence, to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Our drive for those things isn’t likely to wane, despite how ambivalent we might feel ….
Some of us are turning to convenient, low-commitment substitutes for faith and fellowship: astrology, the easy “spiritualism” of yoga and self-care, posting away on Twitter and playing more games. (Yes, literal games. The BLS survey found that we’re nearly twice as likely to get our game on than non-millennials, and for a longer time — but then again, we’re the “World of Warcraft” generation).
Here’s what really worries me: Few of these activities are as geared toward building deep relationships and communal support as the religious traditions the millennials are leaving behind. Actively participating in a congregation means embedding oneself in a community. This involves you in the lives of others and the other way around — their joys and sadnesses, connections and expectations. By leaving religion, we’re shrugging off the ties that bind, not just loosening them temporarily.
Which is freeing, in some sense — “Finally, no one’s breathing down my neck about finding a spouse!” — until it’s not. Much of the conversation around millennials today does center on workload and debt, but it’s our generation’s complaints about relationship culture, family formation and a lack thereof that are likely to reach a crescendo in the coming years. Dating apps were exciting in 2012, but seven years later we’re burnt out. A new wave of egg-freezing start-ups is targeting the growing number of millennial women who still haven’t found the partner they hoped they would.
In longer-range studies, researchers are also seeing that millennials are busier but also much more lonely…..
The Pew and BLS surveys are MRIs for the soul: They give a snapshot of busy millennial life that many will easily attribute to our phase of life. But while phases pass, the underlying needs and wants will continue to matter. What happens when sleeping, working and gaming more than our elders begins to make less sense? If we’re closing the church doors behind us, we’ll have to find somewhere else to tend to our spirits — and our hearts